A MRSA Strain’s Surprising Origin Story: Hedgehogs

A predominant livestock-associated MRSA stain in Europe likely originated in hedgehogs—more than 100 years before the creation of antibiotics, a study published last week finds.

While MRSA has long been driven by human antibiotic overuse, the study describes a “natural battleground” that may be key to understanding the roots of bacterial resistance.

This MRSA strain likely emerged as a defense against a fungal parasite found on the skin of some hedgehogs, which produces two penicillin-like antibiotics. 

This co-evolutionary “arms race” proves the importance of a “broad One Health perspective on antibiotic resistance," said the study’s lead author Jesper Larsen.

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